The nature of SEO is changing. Google has already introduced parts of its Mobile First Index which changes the nature of page ranking. As well as making user experience on mobile a priority, it is also shifting the nature of SEO and what it prioritises when it uses keywords.
The reason behind this is to make the user experience Google provides for people using its search engine the best it can be. More people now search on mobile than they do on desktop – and most searches actually now take place over multiple devices – so your website has to look good on all of them.
Here are some key things your SEO keyword research needs to include in 2018:
Voice, mobile and desktop friendly
The way that you search for content when you have a keyboard in front of you can be very different to the types of search terms you put into your smart phone. If you search using a digital assistant like Siri or Alexa, then the keywords and phrases you use will be different too.
Someone may ask a voice assistant what the best service in the area is – then have a better look on their smartphone before switching over to their computer to fill in details in a form.
It’s now easy to imagine someone using all three devices together in one customer journey in a way that would have been impossible a decade ago.
It means that you have to look at the different ways people will search for your business on different devices – using a tool like Google Trends can help with this, but also think about how the customer may try to find your business.
Long tail keyphrases
One of the ways to prepare for voice is to include long tail keyphrases in your SEO keyword research. Like it suggests, this are longer and even more conversational phrases that try and match what people are saying.
Rather than just using your SEO to focus on your area and business type, for example – you need to include long tail keyphrases which will match people’s search terms.
A good way to do this is to have a constantly updated FAQ section. This way you can actually put the questions that people will be asking online, raising your SEO and also giving people a direct answer to your question, for example:
- How can I improve my SEO rank?
- By having a FAQ section you can include the actual text of trending questions and use long tail keywords to answer them directly – including other SEO keywords in the answer.
In addition to long tail keywords, that search for quite specific terms – also consider ranking high on specific words. For eCommerce, this can be ranking on a particular product name in an area – or for a service, it can be detailing a specific process.
This will not generate as much traffic as traditional keywords, but people who search or ask for something specific and have their questions are much more likely to click through and convert.
Good quality long-form content
Writing lists of keywords and phrases on a webpage and even copying the domain won’t help you improve your SEO ranking anymore. In fact, Google now sees these at ‘black hat’ activities, and will drop your SERPs rank if you use them.
It annoys people who use the search engine. They want their questions answered, not a huge list of words that seem irrelevant to them. In your keyword research you should have generated a list of SEO keywords you want to have on your website. Try and include them in copy – and write copy that serves a purpose for your customer as well.
This can be an FAQ, product description, website copy or even a blog. The blog doesn’t even have to be on the website. Backlinks to blogs you have written for another site which carry a referral link will help to improve your SEO rank.
The quality needs to be good, otherwise people on reputable websites won’t publish your blog. The better the quality, the more people will accept your content, the better your reputation will be – and then you will be able to approach higher reach websites to host your content.
Spending time on quality content means that you can optimise them for the best search engine optimisation keywords. There are many services available. WordPress has it built in, and services like Ahrefs also provide a range of services that can help you.
If you create good quality content you can also use that as content for your own social media – and the more shares and likes it gets, the more valuable that blog becomes as a backlink. With more social proof, more websites are likely to accept your content too.
Auditing is something you need to do continually, but given the changes that are happening at the moment – doing an audit of your keywords is key in 2018.
Firstly, you need to know what your objectives are. That means as a company, for the website and for your audience. That means you will be able to see how well your search optimisation keywords are working for you.
If you haven’t set up goal tracking on Google Analytics, then you should. Identify the keywords that are converting the best for you, and also identify the keywords that are driving the most website traffic. Those are the keywords you want to invest in.
You also need to look at which keywords and phrases have been performing a lot better, and which keywords have stopped performing for you. Focus on developing the keywords which are showing signs of results, and leave those which are no longer performing.
Also, look at the market, and Google Trends to see what the most popular words are to describe your business, and look at related searches to see if you’ve been missing out on any potentially useful SEO keywords.
Consider voice and multi-platform and try out new search engine optimisation approaches – then audit again to see how well they have worked for you. If you know the makeup of your audience well, this will also inform what they are searching for.
Libby enjoys socialising. Which means that she likes to go out with her friends, drink, then hit the gym to work it off. She’s a social media addict, who turned it into her profession.
She loves her role as an account manager and researcher at Speechless Web Design. Almost as much as Big Macs. She once ate 3 in 24 hours.